Random events happen all over the galaxy on a regular basis and are targeted at cities planets or entire solar systems. You can expect every city in the game to be affected by a random event every two or three days. The majority of events don't simply happen, they are announced and their effect can usually go one of several ways depending on how the players in the affected area vote to handle them. A players voting power is usually determined by how much industry they have in the affected area. Some events restrict voting power to specific categories making seemingly small players suddenly have huge influence for a particular event. Voting in any event is restrictd to paid accounts, free accounts will be notified of thier eligibility to vote but cannot cast any vote in any event unless the event states otherwise.
An simple example would be an event that states a crime wave has hit vehicle manufacturers in a particular city and new stricter laws are proposed by the city to deal with the criminals. Players with any industry in that city can vote on whether to implement this law or not. The effect of saying yes will force all products manufactured by Contraband Dens to fall but increase the demand for Vehicles. If they say no than the reverse will happen. Regardless of the flavor text, the effects are almost always temporary in nature (a few days or a one-time effect) but will significantly affect players involved in either industry. These events often will pit two types of industry against each other but can usually be voted on by players who are in neither industry causing "politics" to occur naturally.
Other examples include combat such as a population explosion of some indigenous life form on a planet which start to attack the cities on that planet. These creatures would be represented by military units that attack everything in an area but offer bounties for killing them off. Events like this keeps the combat oriented players busy.
Planetary or system wide events can include things such as killer asteroids that need to be attacked with huge armadas before impact or solar flares that need to be disabled with a massive accumulation of some particular chemical product. Circumstances which require the governors to bring together the other players in a concerted effort to prevent it.
Simple quest like events are also planned which, for example, could involve players having to locate and bring together 12 parts of an ancient artifact that are scattered across a system in order to prevent some harmful event from happening which is complicated by AI controlled pirate faction ships attacking anyone who acquires them.
The random event system coupled with the outcomes voted on by the players involved is a major component of Barons of the Galaxy and is a great balance to the core by the numbers market game.